The NBA announced Tuesday (May 1) that San Antonio head coach Gregg Popovich has been named the 2011-12 NBA Coach Of The Year, earning the second Red Auerbach Trophy of his career.
The 63-year-old coach, who previously won the honor during the 2002-03 season, totaled 467 points — including 77 first-place votes, from a panel of 119 sportswriters and broadcasters throughout the U.S. and and Canada — to beat out second place, Tom Thibodeau of the Chicago Bulls.
Coaches were awarded five points for each first-place vote, three points for each second-place vote and one point for each third-place vote.
He deserved it too. Nobody expected the aging Spurs to make such an impact this season, but they finished with the best record in the Western Conference (50-16), and tying for the best record in the NBA with the Chicago Bulls.
Popovich guided the team to its 15th consecutive postseason berth, which is the longest active streak in the NBA.
They also ranked second in the league in scoring (103.7 ppg) and point-differential (+7.2). However, in the second half of the season, the Spurs were the league’s most dominant team, posting an NBA-best 26-6 (.813) record while averaging league highs in scoring (108.3 ppg) and point-differential (+10.8). They even finished the season 10 straight games, 24 of their last 27, and 38 of their last 45.
And… they won at least 50 games for the 13th consecutive season, led by Popovich the entire way. That surpasses the Los Angeles Lakers (1979-80 to 1990-91) for the longest streak in NBA history.
Behind Popovich was the Bulls’ Tom Thibodeau, and then the Indiana Pacers’ Frank Vogel.
Only Pat Riley and Don Nelson have more Coach Of The Year honors with three a piece.